SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP) — Planners have approved a San Francisco Italian restaurant’s singing waiter proposal – Puccini with pizza.

Colosseo’s in North Beach argued that their opera-singing waiter, Luca, needed amplified orchestra music to serenade diners.

“To tell an Italian he cannot have opera, let alone amplified music to go with it, is like telling him he cannot eat pasta. It’s a sacrilege,” suggested Marshal Garland, president of the North Beach Chamber of Commerce, in favor of the singing waiter.

“For something that will truly reinforce North Beach as Italian culture, and believe me, it needs it,” added Gioni Garjola, also in favor of the proposal.

“It would be nice to hear a little opera,” offered one man. “And as they say in the Italian community, you have a little opera with a little music and a little pasta. Life’s good and that’s amore.”

The politically influential neighborhood group Telegraph Hill Dwellers earlier objected to the proposal, warning of a slippery slope – that soothing Puccini could eventually lead to heavy metal Jimi Hendrix music.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Still, none of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers spoke publicly at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, where the commissioners voted 5-1 to approve the amplified sound permit.

“We don’t have enough Italian opera in San Francisco and this is a great way for just the regular, casual visitor to engage. Because not all of them are going to go to the opera house. We’d love for them to, but they’re not going to,” reasoned commissioner Gwyneth Borden. “And we should be supporting and promoting those businesses that we know will do it responsibly.”

Lone dissenter Kathrin Moore said she was concerned that the permit could be interpreted to allow karaoke or excessively loud music.

Commission president Ron Miguel modified the permit, limiting portable amplification to one microphone, not one singer.

“I would not like to see a technical violation of this, should someone get up and start to join in a duet,” he reasoned.

Colosseo declared waiter Luca would be singing before Christmas.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. SFAnnie says:

    Bravo!!! We need more opera-singing Italian waiters……my fondest recollection of this was at Ciao Bella in Felton. The singing makes the atmosphere. I say Bravo to all who stood up for this. 🙂